Healthy Communities — November 18, 2011

According to Congress, pizza is a vegetable!  Under previous school meal regulations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed two tablespoons of tomato paste (about the amount found on a school lunch pizza slice) to be counted as a half a cup of vegetables.

Photo via Flickr user smithereen11

The USDA proposed new regulations in January that would no longer allow the tomato paste on pizza to count.  But after intense industry lobbying, this week Congress over-ruled the USDA’s new guidelines for the National School Lunch Program.

Read more at NPR, the Washington Post, NY Daily News, and Mother Jones.


The NACCHO Chronic Disease Team has released a new issue brief, “Healthy Communities, Healthy Behaviors: Using Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change to Combat Chronic Disease.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 2011 State Honor Role of Asthma and Allergy School Policies assesses all 50 states on their leadership and progress on school-based policies that address student asthma and allergy health in more than 100,000 elementary, middle and high schools across the country. 

Articles and Reports

Stockbox Brings Good Food to Where People Live Seattle Times, November 6, 2011
The 20-foot shipping container at one edge of a Delridge apartment complex looks more like a portable moving box than a grocery store, but inside are hundreds of items — everything from peanut butter and pancake mix to milk and fresh fruit.   Learn more at

Planting the Seed: Public Transportation Columbia Missouran, Alison November 10, 2011
Columbians for Modern, Efficient Transit set out to triple bus ridership during the next three years to increase physical activity by getting people to walk or bike to and from bus stops and to give people better access to schools and jobs.

Community Development Sector Helping Build Healthier Neighborhoods Health Affairs, November 15, 2011
The community development sector has traditionally focused on promoting jobs, affordable housing and improved quality of life in low-income communities. Now it is increasingly taking on the role of improving public health, and building healthier, more prosperous communities with nutritious food, clean air, safe sidewalks and other attributes that can affect how well and long residents live.

Return on Investments in Public Health and Prevention: A Summary of Groundbreaking Research Studies, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, October 2011 This new policy brief highlights recent evidence indicating that strategic investemtns in proven, community-based prevention programs could both save lives and result in siginificant U.S. health care cost savings and overall economic cost savings.

Screening Key to Preventing Colorectal Cancer, East Oregonian, November 10, 2011 Bryan Wolfe and two other local spokespeople — Robin Alexander and Karen King, both of Pendleton — are putting a human face on a public health campaign aimed at convincing people aged 50 and older to seek screening.

Making Wellness Work for Small Business CNBC, November 14, 2011
When most small business owners think of initiating a wellness program to help employees lose weight or stop smoking, they conclude it’s a luxury they can’t afford. Others have concluded they can’t afford not to.


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